What You Need To Know:

Denzel Washington’s new movie, JOHN Q, mines yesterday’s headlines to create an action drama focusing on one man’s desperate attempts to get medical treatment for his dying son. Washington plays John Archibald, a factory worker with reduced hours who discovers that his health care insurance at work is not enough to get proper medical treatment for his son, who needs a heart transplant. With time and money running out, John takes his son’s cardiac specialist hostage and barricades himself in the hospital emergency room. Only a miracle can save this situation from total disaster.

The good news about JOHN Q is that it does not shy away from revealing the Christian background of John and Denise. There are also Christian references connected to three other important characters. The bad news, however, is that the movie’s Christian worldview is spoiled by plenty of inappropriate foul language and by a biased, socialist message in favor of a national health care system, or socialized medicine. The movie fails to deal with this topic in an honest fashion. In fact, it fails to note that John was negligent about his family’s health care coverage in the first place


(CC, BB, SoSo, PC, LLL, VV, N, A, D, M) Christian worldview with some positive references to Jesus, church, prayer, and Christianity, supported by solid moral elements, but spoiled by strong profanities and by a socialist, politically correct, biased agenda in favor of national health care and socialized medicine; excessive foul language with about 23 obscenities (including two “f” words), 8 strong profanities and 6 mild profanities; moderate violence with some blood includes violent car crash with two trucks, man points gun at kidnapped hostages, fighting, man punches two people in face, woman kicks man in groin and stomach, man shot in shoulder, attempted suicide, and heart transplant operations; no sex, just kissing and hugging between married couple; partial nudity in hospital setting and during operation and medical care; alcohol use; smoking and hospital drug use; and, man occupies building and threatens kidnapped hostages, lying and bureaucratic red tape prevents parents from getting proper medical care for their young son.

More Detail:

Denzel Washington’s new movie, JOHN Q, mines yesterday’s headlines to create an action drama focusing on one man’s desperate attempts to get medical treatment for his dying son.

After a short prologue that telegraphs the ending to the movie, JOHN Q opens with John Q. Archibald lying in bed with his wife, listening to President George W. Bush talking about a faltering economy hurting the American people. John hears a noise outside and finds out that the bank is repossessing one of his cars. The movie reveals that John’s hours have been cut back at work, mostly because jobs are going down to Mexico due to the “free trade” policies of the government. Later, John tries to get another job, but the interviewer tells John that he’s probably over-qualified.

After church that weekend, John and his wife, Denise, go to watch their young son, Michael, play baseball. Suddenly, however, Michael collapses. John and Denise rush their son to the hospital, where they learn that Michael needs a heart transplant within months, if not weeks. John tries to use his health insurance from work, but he discovers that his company has switched to an HMO, or Health Maintenance Organization. He also learns that, since his company now only gives him part-time hours, the HMO will only cover $20,000 of Michael’s expenses. This is not good news to the hospital’s tough administrator, Rebecca Payne (played by Anne Heche). Payne tells John and Denise that the hospital needs at least $75,000 cash to put their son on the list of possible heart transplant recipients.

Desperate to find a solution, John finally takes the law into his own hands. He takes the hospital’s cardiac specialist, Dr. Turner (played by James Woods), hostage and barricades himself in the hospital emergency room. That, of course, brings in the police, in the form of a veteran hostage negotiator (Robert Duvall) and the hot-tempered police chief, who wants to bring a swift, violent end to the situation. Only prayer and a miracle can save the day.

The good news about JOHN Q is that it does not shy away from revealing the Christian background of John and Denise. They go to church, where they sing, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” Also, Denise proudly proclaims herself “a Christian woman” at one point. There are also other Christian references in the movie connected to other important characters, one of whom seems to be a Roman Catholic listening to the sounds of “Ave Maria” on her car stereo. By the end of the movie, it becomes clear that John has no plans to hurt any of the hostages but is ready to sacrifice his own life to save the life of his son.

One of the bad things about JOHN Q, however, is that it contains an excessive amount of foul language, including some strong profanities referring to Jesus Christ. This undercuts the Christian worldview in the rest of the movie.

Another problem with JOHN Q is that the filmmakers have decided to use their story to present a biased, socialist solution to the health care issue in the United States. In fact, at the end of a series of newsclips about health care featuring such socialists as Jesse Jackson and Ariana Huffington, they put on a clip with Bill Maher, the host of the TV show, POLITICALLY INCORRECT, who makes a snide comment in favor of creating a national health care system. Under such a system, of course, government bureaucrats would force every company and every person in the United States, including illegal aliens, to put their money into a national health care system.

The problem with this socialist agenda is the fact that the dreaded HMO system, which the movie fervently attacks, was actually created by the federal government in the 1970s. Indeed, it was created by socialists like Jesse Jackson, and his fellow Democrat, Senator Ted Kennedy, of Massachusetts. Furthermore, the movie also fails to note the fact that, until his son got really sick, John was very negligent about making sure that his health insurance at work provided enough protection for his family. Thus, John’s own negligence also contributes to the problem he faces, not just the stupid bureaucracy of his HMO and the hospital.

All of these problems betray an underlying dramatic failure in JOHN Q’s story. Making matters worse is the fact that some of the twists in the movie’s story are fairly predictable.

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